Redox alterations in pregnant women: Antioxidant effect of lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf) Alterações redox em gestantes: Efeito antioxidante do capim-limão (Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf)

Cristieli Carine Braun Rubin, Roberta Cattaneo Horn, Gabriela Hirsch, Gabriela Tassotti Gellatti, Ana Carolina Tissiani, João Pedro Cunha Calçada, Tiago Heringer, Aimê Cunha


Purpose: This study aimed to verify the redox profile of different gestational phases of pregnant women, in addition to the antioxidant potential of the Cymbopogon citratus leaves infusion. Methods: The infusion characterization was performed by measuring total phenolics, flavonoids and condensed tannins levels. The oxidative damage markers to lipids and proteins in plasma and erythrocytes were evaluated by measuring the TBARS and carbonylated proteins (CP) levels and antioxidant activity by GSH levels. The antioxidant effects of the infusion (20 g/L) were evaluated by measuring the same markers after the pregnant women erythrocytes incubation with the same infusion. The phytochemicals with the highest concentration founded in infusion were flavonoids, followed by tannins and phenolics. Results: It was observed an increase in TBARS levels in the 2nd gestational phase in plasma, concomitant with a decrease in GSH levels in the 2nd and 3rd phases, and CP in the 1st and 4th gestational phases in relation to control. It was observed a decrease in all markers levels in erythrocytes in the 1st and 2nd phases. Analyzing the antioxidant potential of the infusion on erythrocytes, it was observed a decrease in TBARS concomitant with an increase in GSH levels, being little effective in reversing protein damage. Conclusion: Thus, it is suggested that the infusion could be used as adjuvant to vitamin supplements recommended during pregnancy.


gestation, oxidative stress, bioactive compounds, medicinal plants.

Full Text:



Venâncio A, Pinto A, Carvalho Schleder J, Penteado C, Barreto R, Gallo S. Avaliação da mecânica respiratória em gestantes Evaluation of respiratory mechanics in pregnant women Evaluación de la mecánica respiratoria en embarazadas. [cited 2019 Aug 21]; Available from:

Lappas M, Hiden U, Desoye G, Froehlich J, Mouzon SH, Jawerbaum A. The Role of Oxidative Stress in the Pathophysiology of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Antioxid Redox Signal [Internet]. 2011 Dec 15 [cited 2019 Aug 21];15(12):3061–100. Available from:

Andrade AZ de, Rodrigues JK, Dib LA, Romão GS, Ferriani RA, Jordão Junior AA, et al. Marcadores séricos de estresse oxidativo em mulheres inférteis com endometriose. Rev Bras Ginecol e Obs [Internet]. 2010 Jun [cited 2019 Aug 21];32(6):279–85. Available from:

Leghi GE, Muhlhausler BS. The effect of n-3 LCPUFA supplementation on oxidative stress and inflammation in the placenta and maternal plasma during pregnancy. Prostaglandins, Leukot Essent Fat Acids [Internet]. 2016 Oct [cited 2019 Aug 21];113:33–9. Available from:

Fujii J, Iuchi Y, Okada F. Fundamental roles of reactive oxygen species and protective mechanisms in the female reproductive system. Reprod Biol Endocrinol [Internet]. 2005 Sep 2 [cited 2019 Aug 21];3:43. Available from:

Da Broi MG, Albuquerque FO, de Andrade AZ, Cardoso RL, Jordão AA, Navarro PA. Systemic and follicular oxidative stress in infertile women with endometriosis undergoing controlled ovarian stimulation for ICSI: is there a role in the etiopathogenesis of infertility? Fertil Steril [Internet]. 2014 Sep 1 [cited 2019 Aug 21];102(3):e79. Available from:

Mut-Salud N, Álvarez PJ, Garrido JM, Carrasco E, Aránega A, Rodríguez-Serrano F. Antioxidant Intake and Antitumor Therapy: Toward Nutritional Recommendations for Optimal Results. Oxid Med Cell Longev [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2019 Aug 21];2016:1–19. Available from:

Degáspari CH, Waszczynskyj N. Propriedades Antioxidantes de Compostos Fenólicos. Visão Acadêmica [Internet]. 2004 Jun 30 [cited 2019 Aug 21];5(1). Available from:

De E, Melo A, Inês M, Maciel S, Lúcia V, Galvão De Lima A, et al. Capacidade antioxidante de frutas [Internet]. Vol. 44, Revista Brasileira de Ciências Farmacêuticas Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2008 [cited 2019 Aug 21]. Available from:

Negrelle RRB, Gomes ; Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf : chemical composition and biological activities [Internet]. Rev. Bras. Pl. Med. 2007 [cited 2019 Aug 21]. Available from: grass chemical revision.pdf

Tayeboon GS, Tavakoli F, Hassani S, Khanavi M, Sabzevari O, Ostad SN. Effects of Cymbopogon citratus and Ferula assa-foetida extracts on glutamate-induced neurotoxicity. Vitr Cell Dev Biol - Anim [Internet]. 2013 Oct 16 [cited 2019 Aug 21];49(9):706–15. Available from:

Shah G, Kaur M, Dhabiliya F, Shri R. Pharmacognostic Standardization of Cymbopogon citratus (dc.) stapf leaves. Pharmacogn J [Internet]. 2012 May 1 [cited 2019 Aug 21];4(29):19–25. Available from:

Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária - Anvisa. Formulário de Fitoterápicos Farmacopeia Brasileira 1a edição [Internet]. Formulário de Fitoterápicos, Farmacopeia Brasileira, 1a edição, Primeiro Suplemento, editors. Brasília; 2018 [cited 2019 Aug 2]. 160 p. Available from:

Karademir Catalgol B, Ozden S, Alpertunga B. Effects of trichlorfon on malondialdehyde and antioxidant system in human erythrocytes. Toxicol Vitr [Internet]. 2007 Dec [cited 2019 Aug 21];21(8):1538–44. Available from:

Jentzsch AM, Bachmann H, Fürst P, Biesalski HK. Improved analysis of malondialdehyde in human body fluids. Free Radic Biol Med [Internet]. 1996 [cited 2019 Aug 21];20(2):251–6. Available from:

Stocks J, Dormandy TL. The Autoxidation of Human Red Cell Lipids Induced by Hydrogen Peroxide. Br J Haematol [Internet]. 1971 Jan 1 [cited 2019 Aug 7];20(1):95–111. Available from:

Levine RL, Garland D, Oliver CN, Amici A, Climent I, Lenz AG, et al. Determination of carbonyl content in oxidatively modified proteins. Methods Enzymol [Internet]. 1990 [cited 2019 Aug 21];186:464–78. Available from:

Ellman GL. Tissue sulfhydryl groups. Arch Biochem Biophys [Internet]. 1959 May 1 [cited 2019 Aug 21];82(1):70–7. Available from:

Chandra S, De Mejia EG. Polyphenolic compounds, antioxidant capacity, and quinone reductase activity of an aqueous extract of Ardisia compressa in comparison to mate (llex paraguariensis) and green (Camellia sinensis) teas. J Agric Food Chem. 2004;52(11):3583–9.

Woisky RG, Salatino A. Analysis of propolis: some parameters and procedures for chemical quality control. J Apic Res [Internet]. 1998 Jan 24 [cited 2019 Aug 21];37(2):99–105. Available from:

Morrison IM, Asiedu EA, Stuchbury T, Powell AA. Determination of Lignin and Tannin Contents of Cowpea Seed Coats. Ann Bot [Internet]. 1995 Sep 1 [cited 2019 Aug 21];76(3):287–90. Available from:

Brand-Williams W, Cuvelier ME, Berset C. Use of a free radical method to evaluate antioxidant activity. LWT - Food Sci Technol [Internet]. 1995 Jan 1 [cited 2019 Aug 21];28(1):25–30. Available from:

Suhail M, Patil S, Khan S, Siddiqui S. Antioxidant Vitamins and Lipoperoxidation in Non-pregnant, Pregnant, and Gestational Diabetic Women: Erythrocytes Osmotic Fragility Profiles. J Clin Med Res [Internet]. 2010 Dec 11 [cited 2019 Aug 21];2(6):266–73. Available from:

Resi V, Basu S, Haghiac M, Presley L, Minium J, Kaufman B, et al. Molecular inflammation and adipose tissue matrix remodeling precede physiological adaptations to pregnancy. Am J Physiol Metab [Internet]. 2012 Oct 1 [cited 2019 Aug 21];303(7):E832–40. Available from:

Barneo-Caragol C, Martínez-Morillo E, Rodríguez-González S, Lequerica-Fernández P, Vega-Naredo I, Álvarez Menéndez F V. Strontium and oxidative stress in normal pregnancy. J Trace Elem Med Biol [Internet]. 2018 Jan [cited 2019 Aug 21];45:57–63. Available from:

Loy S-L, KNS S, JM HJ. Increase in maternal adiposity and poor lipid profile is associated with oxidative stress markers during pregnancy. Prev Med (Baltim) [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2019 Aug 21];57:S41–4. Available from:

Peuchant E, Brun J-L, Rigalleau V, Dubourg L, Thomas M-J, Daniel J-Y, et al. Oxidative and antioxidative status in pregnant women with either gestational or type 1 diabetes. Clin Biochem [Internet]. 2004 Apr [cited 2019 Aug 21];37(4):293–8. Available from:

Budni P, Pedrosa RC, Garlet TR, Dalmarco EM, Dalmarco JB, Lino MR de O, et al. Carvedilol attenuates oxidative stress in chronic chagasic cardiomyopathy. Arq Bras Cardiol [Internet]. 2012 Mar [cited 2019 Aug 21];98(3):218–24. Available from:

Ayala A, Muñoz MF, Argüelles S. Lipid Peroxidation: Production, Metabolism, and Signaling Mechanisms of Malondialdehyde and 4-Hydroxy-2-Nonenal. Oxid Med Cell Longev [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2019 Aug 21];2014:1–31. Available from:

Höhn A, König J, Grune T. Protein oxidation in aging and the removal of oxidized proteins. J Proteomics [Internet]. 2013 Oct 30 [cited 2019 Aug 21];92:132–59. Available from:

Abdalla DSP, Sena KCM de. Biomarcadores de peroxidação lipídica na aterosclerose. Rev Nutr [Internet]. 2008 Dec [cited 2019 Aug 21];21(6):749–56. Available from:

Anthonymuthu TS, Kenny EM, Bay?r H. Therapies targeting lipid peroxidation in traumatic brain injury. Brain Res [Internet]. 2016 Jun 1 [cited 2019 Aug 21];1640(Pt A):57–76. Available from:

Aronow WS. Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy. Ann Transl Med [Internet]. 2017 Jun [cited 2019 Aug 21];5(12):266. Available from:

Fiore G, Capasso A. Effects of vitamin E and C on placental oxidative stress: an in vitro evidence for the potential therapeutic or prophylactic treatment of preeclampsia. Med Chem [Internet]. 2008 Nov [cited 2019 Aug 21];4(6):526–30. Available from:

Rouhi-Boroujeni H, Heidarian E, Rouhi-Boroujeni H, Khoddami M, Gharipour M, Rafieian-Kopaei M. Use of lipid-lowering medicinal herbs during pregnancy: A systematic review on safety and dosage. ARYA Atheroscler [Internet]. 2017 May [cited 2019 Aug 21];13(3):135–55. Available from:

Tiwari M, Dwivedi UN, Kakkar P. Suppression of oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory mediators by Cymbopogon citratus D. Stapf extract in lipopolysaccharide stimulated murine alveolar macrophages. Food Chem Toxicol [Internet]. 2010 Oct [cited 2019 Aug 21];48(10):2913–9. Available from:

Soares MO, Alves RC, Pires PC, Oliveira MBPP, Vinha AF. Angolan Cymbopogon citratus used for therapeutic benefits: Nutritional composition and influence of solvents in phytochemicals content and antioxidant activity of leaf extracts. Food Chem Toxicol [Internet]. 2013 Oct [cited 2019 Aug 21];60:413–8. Available from:

Barco Tavares B, Finochio Sabino AMN, Lima JC, Tozzo Garcia C. Knowledge of supplemental folic acid during pregnancy. Investig y Educ en Enfermería [Internet]. 2015 Oct 15 [cited 2019 Aug 21];33(3):456–64. Available from:

Wilson RD, Davies G, Désilets V, Reid GJ, Summers A, Wyatt P, et al. The use of folic acid for the prevention of neural tube defects and other congenital anomalies. J Obstet Gynaecol Can [Internet]. 2003 Nov [cited 2019 Aug 21];25(11):959–73. Available from:

Keats EC, Haider BA, Tam E, Bhutta ZA. Multiple-micronutrient supplementation for women during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev [Internet]. 2019 Mar 15 [cited 2019 Aug 21]; Available from:



  • There are currently no refbacks.